Mary Fedden OBE
Mary Fedden studied at the Slade School of Art in the mid 1930s. During the war she painted many commissioned murals and theatre sets. It wasn’t until some time after the war that she painted for herself again and developed her distinctive bold, expressive and instantly recognisable style.
Mary Fedden’s paintings reflect her love of simple, everyday objects – flowers in a vase, jugs on a table, fruit, bottles of wine – often placed in front of a landscape. Her passion for travelling and treasured places such as Gozo, Scotland, Sicily and the Cevennes also provided a great source of inspiration over the years together with her love of animals and plants – cats, fish, birds, fritillaries
Mary Fedden found the early Ben Nicholson's fascinating as were the paintings of his wife Winifred. She also admired the Scottish artist Anne Redpath and the French painter Henri Hayden.1951 Mary Fedden married the artist Julian Trevelyan who she had met before the war. They took a studio on the Thames River at Chiswick, where Fedden, lived and worked there until she passed away. Together, Trevelyan and Fedden travelled widely and even collaborated on a mural commission for Charing Cross Hospital. Fedden received several other commissions for murals, most importantly from the Festival of Britain (1951), the P & O Liner, Canberra (1961).
From 1958-1964 she taught at the Royal College of Art and was appointed the first female tutor in the Painting School. Her pupils included David Hockney and Allen Jones. Subsequently, Fedden taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School and was elected Royal Academician. From 1984 to 1988 she was President of the Royal West of England Academy. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath and an O.B.E. for her work.
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